The Question and Answer Portion

“Monsters exist, but they are too few in number to be truly dangerous. More dangerous are the common men, the functionaries ready to believe and to act without asking questions.”
― Primo Levi

***

In my younger days, I was fond of beauty contests — Miss Philippines, Miss Universe, Miss World etc, etc. I think Filipinos have a particular proclivity to watching tall, long-haired, wide mouthed smiling girls in evening gowns parade themselves in high heels and display their wit and intelligence in the so-called “question and answer portion.”

Miss Universe 1994 Sushmita Sen was being crowned by 1993 Miss Universe Dayanara Torres of Puerto Rico. Historical facts: Dayanara was an actress in Philippine movies for a while before she married Marc Anthony who is now married to Jennifer Lopez. Photo from indianexpress.com

Miss Universe 1994 Sushmita Sen was being crowned by 1993 Miss Universe Dayanara Torres of Puerto Rico. Historical facts: Dayanara was an actress in Philippine movies for a while before she married Marc Anthony who is now married to Jennifer Lopez. Photo from indianexpress.com

In 1994, the Miss Universe beauty pageant was held in Manila. During the final Q & A, Ms. Sushmita Sen of India was asked this very thought-provoking query — “what is the essence of being a woman?”. I was a teenager in 1994; and given that fact, I would like to be forgiven if I thought (at that time) that that question was “profound” and “philosophical.” Now, when I think back on that Ms. Universe question, I just want to laugh.

***

The subject of questions come up because in 8 months, my country’s people will have to answer another one that is thrown at them every 6 years — “who will be your next president?”

This blogger just asked some pertinent questions of a Philippine presidential candidate who is now leading the surveys. Have I become so cynical that right now, I don’t really expect an honest answer?

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